-- "Hopes that £5,000 (about $8,000) government grants would make 2011 "remembered as the year the electric car took off" have been dashed with the release of new figures showing uptake of the greener cars has sputtered out.
Only 106 electric cars were bought in the third quarter of 2011 through the "plugged-in car grant" scheme, launched in January. It marks a significant slump in demand on already sluggish-take-up, with 465 cars registered through the scheme in Q1 and 215 in Q2.
Electric car campaigners and industry had hoped this would be the year the cars – billed as a clean low carbon alternative to conventional petrol and diesel models – made a breakthrough. Former transport secretary Phillip Hammond said in January: "Government action to support affordable vehicles and more local charging points means we are on the threshold of an exciting green revolution – 2011 could be remembered as the year the electric car took off."
The number of electric vehicles in the UK stands at just 1,107, a tiny chunk of the country's 28.5m cars. But the government had hoped to incentive take-up with the launch of grants of up to £5,000, preserving the grant during last summer's cuts and putting aside £43m, or enough for 8,600 cars, until March 2012. The scheme is due to be reviewed in January."
MP: Maybe this is a lesson that the government really shouldn't be picking winner and losers when it comes to the cars consumers buy? 2011 will now be remembered as the "year the electric car fizzled, even with very, very generous government subsidies."